Rafael Mojica published Help us shape the future of Highland Park! Attend the Communities LEAP: Update & Input Townhall! in What's up at Soulardarity? 2022-09-21 09:50:48 -0400
Rafael Mojica published DTE has failed us...again. in What's up at Soulardarity? 2022-09-01 10:51:44 -0400
If you or anyone you know are in need of assistance, there is still power at the Ernest T. Ford Recreation Center, located at 10 Pitkin St in Highland Park and residents are being allowed to take shelter there to power mobile devices and stay out of the heat. For Detroit residents, please refer to this list of community centers that may still have power and are open to the public.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all community members that are being unfairly impacted by DTE’s failure to be prepared for yesterday’s storm.
Yesterday a strong wind, thunder and rainstorm swept through much of SE Michigan, causing limbs from trees to fall and utility poles to bend or collapse, bringing power lines in contact with the ground. With winds picking up 70 MPH, many of our communities are experiencing power outages for nearly 300k customers (12% of DTE’s total customer base), school closures, boil advisories, and due to a downed power line, the devastating loss of a 14 year old child in Monroe.
Storm damaged utility poles in Highland Park
It is easy to put out a public statement and blame all of this on severe weather, but let’s be realistic. When you are a multibillion-dollar company that has reaped massive profits in the past 5 years, including during the pandemic and this one, and you are receiving failing grades for your quality of service and infrastructure, it is a hard pill for community members and customers to swallow when given such flimsy excuses.
The truth is, DTE is responsible for these power outages. DTE is responsible for the financial fallout that households are going to go through in the coming days. DTE is responsible for choosing to prioritize their shareholders over their duty to provide a vital public service to our communities. When will enough actually be enough? How many more millions of our money in handouts will they beg for from the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) until they feel satisfied and start doing their jobs to serve their customers?
Storm damaged utility poles and downed trees in Highland Park
We cannot let them get one more dime from us. As rate paying customers, we must tell the MPSC to make the right decision by denying their rate hike proposal. We need the MPSC to tell DTE “NO MORE RATE HIKES''. Last week, they held an in person public hearing to listen to the community and to receive their comments to put on the record in the rate case. You can still submit public comments electronically by using the link below.
It is quick and easy. It comes with a prefilled message that urges them to deny DTE’s rate hike request. But we encourage you to put in your own reasons. Tell them that their decision involves life and death consequences, as we have seen from yesterday’s storm. If we don’t push back now, DTE is going to continue with business as usual. Which is to make as much money as possible for their shareholders, and not invest in our communities.
If you want to help us push back against DTE's rate hike, sign up to volunteer on our website. Be sure to write a comment that you would like to help with the anti rate hike campaign and one of us will reach out to connect you to our coalition's efforts in a meaningful way that works for you.
Rafael Mojica, Program Director
Rafael Mojica published We Showed Up! We Showed Out! in What's up at Soulardarity? 2022-08-29 15:17:22 -0400
If you were there, you already know the energy that was flowing in that 150 person capacity room at Wayne County Community College in Detroit. On Monday, August 22nd, after receiving pressure from the public and organizations like Soulardarity, We The People MI, and the MI Environmental Justice Coalition, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) held a public hearing for the DTE Rate Hike Proposal (+$388M) that is currently under their consideration.
If you missed being there and want to see how it went down, visit the link below.
Hailing from Detroit, Highland Park, Ann Arbor, Royal Oak, and other surrounding areas, over 200 people came in attendance and gave in-person public comment, all of which were recorded by a court stenographer and witnessed by a judge, along with the board's three Commissioners. Every comment that was delivered that evening will be officially put on the record in the case.
It was a strategic win for the community, getting us hopefully closer to shutting down DTE's plans to take more of residential rate payers' money (+$283M) to fill the pockets of their shareholders (+$288M). But we still have a lot of work to do until November 21st, when the MPSC makes their ruling.
Submit your public comment
First, we need to continue making our voices heard by the MPSC. They are still accepting public comment electronically. Soulardarity is urging all of our supporters that are DTE rate payers to do so by using the link below. It's quick, easy, and will make an impact.
Sign up to volunteer
Second, if you want to jump into the trenches with us, and push back against DTE's rate hike, sign up to volunteer on our website. Be sure to write a comment that you would like to help with the anti rate hike campaign and one of us will reach out to connect you to our coalition's efforts in a meaningful way that works for you.
Read more about DTE's practices that damage our communities
We The People MI, with support from Soulardarity, We Want Green Too, and other environmental justice organizations, put together and released last week a scathing report that exposes the many ways that DTE harms our people. To read it, click the link below.
Also, our friends at ProPublica submitted another hard hitting investigative article on DTE. This time, revealing their horrible practice of selling the debts of rate payers to third party debt collectors. To read it, click the link below.
Check out below some press coverage of the public hearing
Become a monthly sustaining donor
Both in the court with our legal intervention, and in the public, we are making important and impactful strides to expose and stop DTE from continuing to take advantage of us. But we have a lot of work to do.
Another great way to support our work is by becoming a monthly sustaining donor or making a one time financial contribution. This will help us get closer to achieving financial independence, helping ensure that our staff and members can continue doing this important work on a daily basis.
Soulardarity hopes that you will join us. Together, many hands make light and powerful work.
Rafael Mojica, Program Director
Rafael Mojica published DTE Rate Hike Case Public Hearing in What's up at Soulardarity? 2022-08-12 12:09:03 -0400
JOIN SOULARDARITY STAFF, We The People MI, and MI Environmental Justice Coalition at the MPSC Public Hearing.
Thanks to pressure from community groups, this is the first time the MPSC has ever held a hearing on a rate increase decision.
The Michigan Public Service Commission has announced that it will hold a public hearing in MPSC Docket No. U-20836, DTE Electric Co.’s pending request for an electric rate increase.
About the Rate Case
- As DTE customers, we have among the worst power outages & highest rates in the country, and an affordability crisis with nearly 180,000 shut offs in 2021.
- The proposed rate hike would take an additional $233M from families, and give an additional $283M to investors, each year.
- They have no plan to upgrade grid infrastructure in most Detroit-area communities, though some equipment is 20-40 years older than in the suburbs, and 25+ years past expected lifetime.
- Here’s more information about their rate hike request.
Members of the public are invited to attend and provide public comment regarding the pending rate request. The MPSC is not offering a remote participation option for this hearing.
Monday, August 22, 2022 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Detroit Campus of Wayne County Community College
1001 W Fort St
Rm 236 (Frank Hayden Community Room)
Detroit, MI 48226
Options to Submit Public Comments
Individuals unable to attend in-person, but who wish to provide comments may do so by using our electronic submission form. Comments may also be submitted by mail to Michigan Public Service Commission, 7109 W. Saginaw Highway, Lansing, MI 48917. Comments should reference the docket number U-20836.To learn more about the Rate Case process, check out the MPSC’s Rate Case Issue Brief.
Rafael Mojica published THANK YOU FOR SHOWING OUT! in What's up at Soulardarity? 2022-05-10 19:20:55 -0400
Rafael Mojica published Communities LEAP in Highland Park in What's up at Soulardarity? 2022-03-30 14:22:15 -0400
Good news for Highland Park! Our city is one of twenty two communities that has been selected to participate in Communities LEAP (Local Energy Action Program). This opportunity is being offered through the Department of Energy’s clean energy deployment work.
To qualify, it was required to submit an extensive application to make the case. Through a collaborative effort amongst multiple stakeholders, including Highland Park Community Crisis Coalition, Soulardarity, Avalon Village, Parker Village, and Highland Park Water and Engineering Department, the city is now eligible to receive up to $500k worth of technical assistance to address the energy crisis. With engagement from Highland Park residents and city government, we will partner with DOE to pursue a path toward 100% local, clean, renewable energy.
Securing this support is a major step forward towards the goals of our Blueprint For Energy Democracy, a vision established by our Highland Park leaders in 2019.
This could not have happened without the offers of support in all the forms they came in. In addition to the community organizations of the multi-stakeholder team, letters of support from the following were included:
- Representative Rashida Tlaib - Vice Chair Subcommittee on Environment
- State of Michigan Office of Future Mobility and Electrification
- State of Michigan Public Service Commission
- Union of Concerned Scientists
- Polar Bear Sustainable Energy Cooperative
- City of Ann Arbor Office of Sustainability and Innovation
- 5 Lakes Energy
- Elevate: Equity Through Climate Action
- Highland Park Human Rights Coalition
- Vote Solar
We wanted to share this good news with our members. And we want you to know that we will be working hard to ground this process in meeting the real needs of our community - affordable rates, reliable power, healthy environment, and resilience to crisis. We can’t do it without you - so get ready to get involved!
Rafael Mojica donated 2022-10-01 13:26:33 -0400
Rafael Mojica donated 2021-12-14 17:23:39 -0500
James Gignac and Edyta Sitko
Union of Concerned Scientists
for their partnership with us in researching and publishing of this report!
NEW! FOR LIMITED TIME ONLY!
$50 donations or more will receive a custom
Soulardarity sweatshirt as a thank you for renewing your membership!
We've done incredible things together, this year we were able to install 10 solar streetlights in Avalon Village and Parker Village. We need all kinds of support to make it happen, and your donations are a critical part of that.
Look below to see what your contributions do for the work in 2022.
- $5 prints 50 flyers for an event
- $25 supports a subsidized Soulardarity membership
- $50 buys winter weatherization supplies for a household
- $250 pays one month’s rent at our office and maintains a safe, community space
- $1000 sends our community leaders to share Highland Park’s story on a national platform
- $5000 keeps a roof over our heads in 2022!
Every gift makes a difference. We also encourage you to become a dues-paying member and add your voice and leadership to our forward motion.
If you want to make a larger donation than this page allows, email [email protected] for instructions.
To donate by check, please make the check payable to Soulardarity and mail it to:Soulardarity21 Highland StHighland Park, MI 48203
Soulardarity is a 501c3 charitable organization. Donations made to Soulardarity are tax-deductible under Soulardarity's EIN: 47-2733535